Martin excited to play at Penn State Mont Alto

By on July 6, 2016
Playing 19 games in his senior season for Warwick, second baseman Tyler Martin batted .410 with a team-best tying 12 RBI’s this spring.

Playing 19 games in his senior season for Warwick, second baseman Tyler Martin batted .410 with a team-best tying 12 RBI’s this spring.

At 5-foot-9, Tyler Martin acknowledges that he’s not the biggest guy to step on a baseball diamond.

But the size of his heart?

That is not lost on Penn State Mont Alto skipper Terry Clark.

“He seems to be a hard player,” Clark said of Martin, a 2016 Warwick grad. “And what I mean by that is he’s an intense player, he tries at everything he does. He gives it 100 percent. He’s coachable. That’s something that we certainly look forward to in our recruits that we bring in.”

Forgive Clark for not having seen Martin play this spring at Warwick, where he batted .410 in 19 games with a team-best tying 12 RBI’s.

You see, Martin was accepted to Penn State University’s main campus. But when an overbooking issue came to light, one thing led to another, and Martin accepted a discounted tuition rate to attend the Mont Alto campus for at least one year.

Clark is more than happy to welcome him aboard.

“We’re very excited to have Tyler with us next year,” he said. “He seems very intelligent, articulate and a very athletic young man.”

For Martin, it was a win-win situation to be able to continue his baseball career.

“I’m extremely excited,” the All-Star infielder said. “It’s a precious opportunity I’ve been given.”

Early on in his college search, Martin had also been considering Messiah College, Lehigh University and Johns Hopkins University. In the end, Penn State was the only school where Martin applied, and he was accepted in March.

“I decided early on that Penn State was right for me,” he said.

Attempting to walk on with the Nittany Lions at Penn State’s University Park did cross Martin’s mind, but his physical stature deterred him.

“I don’t think, with my height, it was going to fly walking on at Penn State,” he said, “so I was kinda committed to playing club ball there.”

Now, however, he’s committed to helping Penn State Mont Alto offset the loss of shortstop Alex Cline, who batted a team-test .426 and led the way with 18 extra-base hits and 38 runs scored. He was second in the All-American voting.

“(Alex) was an extremely talented middle infielder/shortstop that was a team leader and of the MVP’s of our whole league, not only just our conference,” Clark said. “That’s a huge pair of shoes to fill, and we brought in a couple kids hoping that either by committee or by single, that somebody can step up and try to fill that huge void in our lineup.”

Martin is one of those in the mix.

“The coach has told me that his middle infield from last year has either moved to a different position or just moved out of the school altogether,” he said. “So he said he had brought, including myself, about four middle infielders into Mont Alto just to try to develop that second base and shortstop position.”

With Warwick this year, in addition to swinging a hot bat, Martin had a strong.969 fielding percentage as the Warriors’ starting second baseman, committing just one error in 32 total chances.

Still, he knows there are things to improve on with playing at the next level.

“I’ve just got to keep working on getting stronger definitely and making sure my bat stays hot throughout the year,” Martin said. “I know the defense will be there at either second base or shortstop, but if I would end up at short, my arm would definitely need to get stronger.”

There are areas where the Penn State Mont Alto squad can improve as well, pitching depth among them. Still, they finished the 2016 season with a 21-18 overall record (17-6 Conference), bowing to Penn State Schuylkill in the PSUAC semi-finals.

Not bad for a program that is still growing, having fielded a baseball team for just six years.

“Being one of two-year schools, we usually are a young team,” Clark said, “and as I discussed with Tyler, the nice thing about it is you don’t go somewhere and sit a year. He will actually have an opportunity with us to come and play. We are one of the powers in the conference. And we’re usually ranked in the top-10 in the nation in small schools. So he’s going to a pretty good ball team and we have a pretty good coaching staff here, and we think we can grow together.”

Whether Martin stays at Penn State Mont Alto for one or two years is a question to be determined. He admits that the game plan right now is to go there for one year before heading to University Park, but Martin, who plans to study chemical engineering, is entering the situation with an open mind.

“The plan right is to just be there for one year, but we’ll see what happens with that,” he said. “Maybe it turns into two years, maybe it just sticks to one.”

Asked if playing at Mont Alto could open a door for him to re-consider walking on with the Nittany Lions at University Park, Martin said, “The academics are first in any scenario. So I figure I’m going to Mont Alto for my academics and I’m lucky to be playing baseball there. If it would lead to it, then maybe I could walk on. But I’ll just see where the academics take me first.”


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